As a trainee in Guaranty Trust Bank, we were asked to define our brands, to define who we were as individuals, what makes us unique and different from others. I remember being quite flustered when Tutu Sholeye, the director of the bank’s training school asked me, who are you? I did not know what to answer? Should I say I am a man, a boy, a child of God?
As the first set of the Bank’s training school, we were given the assignment of defining who we were. Knowing thyself was prerequisite to finding our purpose and making our own unique contribution within the bank and in life. Truly, it was a refreshingly different institution, quite unlike the typical purely profit oriented bank. I still think it is, in many respects.
Like everyone else in my training school class, I defined my brand. I had to look inwards to give words to my uniqueness. I defined my brand 12 years ago as “A thinker, a dreamer, finding a road in the wilderness and creating rivers of water in the desert.” I think this explains why I am undeterred by obvious deterrents and why I am attracted to risks, difficulties, dangers and unattractive propositions. It may be the reason I came out of business school, armed with an MBA, with awards and contributions (and failures) and chose to be a cleaner instead of something much more glamorous like a Wall Street investment banker. My character loves the uncharted, the seemingly mundane, the ‘garbage’.
As I plan for my next adventure, I am undeterred by obvious deterrents. I am attracted to the difficulties. I am more excited to explore how to reach the remotest, harder to reach areas for example, than to shy away from them. It is much more energizing, much more inspiring and much more Tolu than avoiding the uncharted. It is another reason I am attracted to Greg Mortenson whose calling is to build schools for girls and promote education of girls in places furthest from civilization.
I can use my mind and my heart to better explore the beaten path and I can use the same mind and heart to explore the roads less travelled, where the needs are greatest, the challenges more acute, where there is seemingly less profit and where humanity is crying out for solutions. I am drawn to the latter. It is my nature, it is my brand.